Leaving Early


We hadn’t so much as sniffed a drop: but still

We staggered back like villains. Not yet night,

The evening hadn’t petrified: the sky

Was not stone-black but ochre, molten, vast

In consequence and crazed inconsequence:

Clouds fell like wounded soldiers, wings ablaze,

Portrayed in crimson-spilt angelic war;

The vapour trails of planes played tricks on us,

Demonstrating such finality,

Yet gentle definition to their form.

And I too burnt from laughter. Could not stay

One moment longer: gasping out, you smile,

A hardly-hidden, rude conspiracy:

We’d never known such awful company.

To call it a night, we’d said, before too late,

Before the blood weighed heavy in our limbs,

Our lungs, our eyes: to leave on a good night,

To dance like villains into the street, a fire

Alight from heaven’s war above our heads:

I’d say, the perfect time, to call it a night.



For Jac, who has chuckled and giggled and conspired with me on many an evening, under many different skies. 



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